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Pharma In Asia-Pacific Region Becomes More Active In R&D, Study Finds

In recent years, pharmaceutical companies in the Asia-Pacific region have ramped up their clinical trial activity, patent challenges of brand name drugs and their development of new products, according to report released Tuesday by CMR International, a Thomson Reuters business, Reuters reports.

“In 2002 53 percent of patients recruited into clinical trials globally were from North America – but by 2008 that figure was down to 32 percent,” Reuters writes. “Asia Pacific, meanwhile, increased its share of clinical trial patients from 6 percent to 11 percent, while Europe showed marginal growth from 14 to 17 percent, according to the report from CMR International,” the news service reports.

“U.S. and European pharmaceuticals are looking increasingly to place clinical work in Asian countries,” said Hans Poulsen, head of life sciences consulting at Thomson Reuters. “It’s a business decision. These economies are growing, people have more disposable income and they are spending more on health care, so the markets are growing,” Poulsen added (Hirschler, 11/2).

The CMR International R&D Factbook revealed “the number of new molecules in development by generic companies, particularly in India, reflects a strong inclination to invest in R&D,” and “the number of patent challenges in the region indicates an increasingly aggressive approach to securing market share,” according to a Thomson Reuters press release. “Patent challenges raised by Indian companies, for example, increased 60 percent from 2006 to 2009, underlining the shifting business model in the region,” the release states.

“The benefits to Asia Pacific in moving towards increased clinical trials and more drug development are clear: attracting more investment to the local pharma industry, and earlier access to innovative medicines for the local population,” Poulsen said, according to the press release. “It is not clear however, if this trend will be seen as an opportunity for collaboration, or an increase in competition for multinational companies,” he added.

The information published in the Factbook is “based on primary sources covering major pharmaceutical companies which account for approximately 80 percent of the industry’s global R&D expenditure,” according to the press release (11/3).